Anxiety: Where Does It Come From?

If you’ve read our last blog (check it out here, if you haven’t!), you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States.  Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety.  Though anxiety is widespread in America, researchers aren’t entirely sure of the source.  One thing we do know, however, is that anxiety does not have a single source for each person - how and why anxiety develops is diverse and varies among individuals. Although we don’t have a specific cause for all anxiety disorders, check out some of the suspected roots of anxiety below.  Keep in mind - this isn’t an exhaustive list, nor is it true for everybody. Intrapersonal Causes Intrapersonal causes are the reasons within ourselves that anxiety develops.  One such reason is burnout; feeling burnt out from your daily routine or workplace can quickly lead to chronic anxiety.  Another inner-cause is feeling a lack of control.  Lack of control can especially lead to Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is the feeling that something bad could occur at any moment or feeling stressed about something, but you’re unsure of what.  A third inner cause is perfectionist or people-pleasing attitudes.  Constantly criticizing yourself or wondering what other people think of you leads to negative self-evaluation, which leads to anxiety over your self-concept.  If you’re struggling with negative self-talk, you may want to check out our blog post about it, here. Interpersonal Causes On the other hand, interpersonal causes are relational reasons for the development of anxiety.  One relational concern that may cause anxiety is having unhealthy relationships, such as abusive relationships.  Abusive relationships, including emotionally abusive ones, cause us to doubt ourselves and live in fear of our partners, inducing anxiety.  Even if the relationship is not abusive, relationships that cause us to worry about the response or actions of the other person and devalue ourselves can lead to anxious feelings.  Similarly, experiencing trauma can lead to anxiety.  We see this in individuals that experience intergenerational trauma, cultural trauma, and sexual or physical violence.   Environmental Causes There are causes outside of ourselves and our relationships that can cause anxiety, known as environmental stressors.  One environmental stressor is the state of the world - COVID19, political unrest, systemic oppression, and war in other countries can certainly lead us to feel impending doom.  Another environmental cause is our literal environment - where we live impacts how we feel, along with the people and pollutants we are exposed to.  A surrounding that is filled with constant stress is sure to induce anxiety at some point. No matter the cause, significant anxiety is not fun - or healthy - for anyone.  If you’re struggling with anxiety for any reason, talk to a licensed professional today.  At Therapy Beyond Healing, we have therapists who have extensive experience in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  We’d love to talk to you about what’s worrying you.  Reach out by emailing today; we look forward to hearing from you!